All posts by Foot & Ankle Center

Why Are Foot Stretches Important?

The importance of properly stretching the feet aids in the body’s ability to maintain balance. Additional benefits include developing flexibility and limber muscles, which can possibly help one avoid Achilles tendon injuries and heel pain. As the feet become stronger, the likelihood of pain in the arches and tears in the tendons will diminish. Pointing and flexing the feet is a simple yet effective stretch for the entire foot, which allows the ankles to strengthen. When pointing your toes, it’s suggested to strive for a feeling of the top of the arch becoming longer, which results in toe movement from the muscles that are stretched under the arch. If you would like additional information about the importance of proper foot stretches and techniques, please schedule a consultation with a podiatrist.

Stretching the feet is a great way to prevent injuries. If you have any concerns with your feet consult with one of our podiatrists  from the Foot & Ankle Center. Our doctors will assess your condition and provide you with quality foot and ankle treatment.

Stretching the Feet

Being the backbone of the body, the feet carry your entire weight and can easily become overexerted, causing cramps and pain. As with any body part, stretching your feet can serve many benefits. From increasing flexibility to even providing some pain relief, be sure to give your feet a stretch from time to time. This is especially important for athletes or anyone performing aerobic exercises, but anyone experiencing foot pain or is on their feet constantly should also engage in this practice.

Great ways to stretch your feet:

  • Crossing one leg over the others and carefully pull your toes back. Do 10-20 repetitions and repeat the process for each foot
  • Face a wall with your arms out and hands flat against the wall. Step back with one foot and keep it flat on the floor while moving the other leg forward. Lean towards the wall until you feel a stretch. Hold for 30 seconds and perform 10 repetitions for each foot
  • Be sure not to overextend or push your limbs too hard or you could risk pulling or straining your muscle

Individuals who tend to their feet by regular stretching every day should be able to minimize foot pain and prevent new problems from arising.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our office located in Marrero, PA. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

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Stretching Your Feet

Debilitating foot pain is a problem for many people. But just as stretching the torso can help alleviate back pain, stretching the feet can also help mend existing foot problems and prevent future ones.

The feet, as the body’s foundation, carry the body’s entire weight and can get easily strained from overexertion. Persistent sharp pain and cramping in the feet are often common concerns. Foot pain and foot problems can be due to any number of causes, and in many cases pain may be eased without medication or doctor visits. It is always a good idea, however, to first rule out any serious medical issues with a physician.

Stretching can help relax the feet and alleviate pain, but is especially important before heavy aerobic exercise. Stretching before such activities can help you avoid experiencing painful cramps or strained foot muscles. Stretches should be performed slowly and deliberately without forceful pulling. The stretch should be held for several seconds before relaxing.

A great way to stretch out and loosen up the foot muscles while sitting is to cross one leg over the other and pull the toes carefully back without overextending. Start by resting the left ankle on the right knee. With the left hand, gently flex the left foot by pulling back on the toes. Do not pull too hard; just hard enough to feel the stretch in the arch of the foot. Then point the toes of the left foot as far as you can. Rotate the motion of pointing with pulling back on the toes. This should relax and stretch the muscles on the bottom and the top of the foot. Doing this stretch ten to twenty times should bring relief. Repeat the whole process for the other foot by resting the right ankle on the left knee.

A stretch that focuses on the often injured Achilles tendon involves standing and facing a wall with your arms out and hands flat against the wall. Step back with one foot, keeping it flat against the floor. Move the other leg forward and lean toward the wall. You should feel a stretch through the back of your leg and your Achilles tendon, but do not push yourself too much. Stop when you feel a stretching sensation, and hold for 30 seconds. Ten repetitions may be done for each foot.

Stretching the feet is important for athletes or those performing aerobic exercise, but it can also help anyone with foot pain caused by poor footwear, plantar fasciitis, or long hours standing and walking. Individuals who tend to their feet by regularly stretching every day should be able to minimize foot pain and prevent new problems from arising.

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What Causes Hammertoe?

The foot may appear deformed if a condition known as hammertoe occurs. When the toes bend at the joint and the top of the toe bends down, a claw-like or hammer formation is apparent. This is possibly caused by a predisposed inherited gene originating from having little or no arch in the foot, or if the second toe exceeds the length of the first toe. Additional causes of this condition may be attributed to shoes that fit poorly, often crowding the toes into a space that is extremely small. There are symptoms that are easily noticed that are associated with hammertoes, such as observing if your toe is curling, in addition to experiencing discomfort and pain when the toes are stretched. Possible prevention of this aliment may include choosing to wear the correct shoes that provide adequate room for the toes, and avoiding shoes that are too short or tight. Treatment is necessary to lessen the discomfort, which may typically consist of exercises being performed that can aid in strengthening the tendons in the toes, or stabilizing the toe by applying a splint. A consultation with a podiatrist is advised if you would like additional information and treatment options for hammertoe.

Hammertoe

Hammertoes can be a painful condition to live with. For more information, contact one of our podiatrists from the Foot & Ankle Center. Our doctors will answer any of your foot- and ankle-related questions.

Hammertoe

Hammertoe is a foot deformity that affects the joints of the second, third, fourth, or fifth toes of your feet. It is a painful foot condition in which these toes curl and arch up, which can often lead to pain when wearing footwear.

Symptoms

  • Pain in the affected toes
  • Development of corns or calluses due to friction
  • Inflammation
  • Redness
  • Contracture of the toes

Causes

Genetics – People who are genetically predisposed to hammertoe are often more susceptible

Arthritis – Because arthritis affects the joints in your toes, further deformities stemming from arthritis can occur

Trauma – Direct trauma to the toes could potentially lead to hammertoe

Ill-fitting shoes – Undue pressure on the front of the toes from ill-fitting shoes can potentially lead to the development of hammertoe

Treatment

Orthotics – Custom made inserts can be used to help relieve pressure placed on the toes and therefore relieve some of the pain associated with it

Medications – Oral medications such as anti-inflammatories or NSAIDs could be used to treat the pain and inflammation hammertoes causes. Injections of corticosteroids are also sometimes used

Surgery – In more severe cases where the hammertoes have become more rigid, foot surgery is a potential option

If you have any questions please contact our office located in Marrero, PA. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

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What Are Hammertoes?

Hammertoes are painful deformities that frequently form on the second, third, or fourth toe. The condition is often caused by an issue in foot mechanics. This can be caused by the person’s specific gait or the manner in which they walk, or by shoes that do not comfortably fit the deformity.  Hammertoes can be formed after wearing shoes that are too narrow or short for the foot or have excessively high heels. Shoes that are not properly sized will force the toes into a bent position for long periods of time. This can cause the muscles to shorten and toes to bend into the deformity of a hammertoe.

Hammertoe can also be caused by complications from rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, trauma to the foot, heredity, or a cerebral vascular accident. Pain and difficult mobility of the toes, deformities, calluses, and corns are all symptoms of a hammertoe.

Someone who suspects they have the symptoms of a hammertoe should consult with a physician—particularly a podiatrist. Podiatrists diagnose and treat complications of the foot and ankle. If the podiatrist discovers that the affected toes are still flexible, treatment for the hammertoe may simply involve exercise, physical therapy, and better-fitting shoes. Treatment for hammertoes typically involves controlling foot mechanics, such as walking, through the use of customized orthotics.

For more serious cases in which the toes have become inflexible and rigid, surgery may be suggested. During the operation, the toe would receive an incision to relieve pressure on the tendons. A re-alignment of the tendons may then be performed by removing small pieces of bone to straighten the toe. In some cases, the insertion of pins is needed to keep the bones in the proper position as the toe heals. The patient is usually allowed to return home on the same day as the surgery.

If surgery is performed to repair a hammertoe, following the postoperative directions of your doctor is essential. Directions may include several stretches, picking up marbles with your toes, or attempting to crumple a towel placed flat against your feet. Wear shoes that have low heels and a wide amount of toe space to maintain comfort. Closed-toe shoes and high heels should be avoided. Shoes with laces allow the wearer to adjust how fitted he or she may want the shoes to be and also allow for greater comfort. To provide adequate space for your toes, select shoes that have a minimum of one-half inch of space between the tip of your longest toe and the inside of the shoe. This will also relieve pressure on your toes and prevent future hammertoes from forming.

Other preventative measures that can be taken include going shopping for new shoes in the middle of the day. Your feet are its smallest in the morning and swell as the day progresses. Trying on and purchasing new shoes midday will give you the most reliable size. Be sure to check that the shoes you purchase are both the same size. If possible, ask the store to stretch out the shoes at its painful points to allow for optimum comfort.  

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Are the Feet Affected by Obesity?

Recent research has suggested there’s a strong connection between obesity and medical concerns involving the feet and ankles. Typically, the additional weight may alter the structure of the foot, allowing ailments such as plantar fasciitis, tendinitis, and fallen arches to occur. These conditions affect the feet, which can hinder the daily routine and activities. Additional consequences may include the onset of type 2 diabetes, which affects the ability to heal properly. Neuropathy may develop, which is the inability to feel pain due to nerve damage occurring, and any cuts in the skin may take longer to heal. If you are suffering from any of these ailments please consider a consultation with a podiatrist for any foot conditions that need to be addressed.

Obesity has become very problematic at this point in time and can have extremely negative effects on the feet. If you’re an obese individual and are concerned about your feet, contact one of our podiatrists from the Foot & Ankle Center. Our doctors can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

Obesity and your Feet

Since your feet are what support your entire weight when standing, any additional weight can result in pain and swelling. Being overweight is one of the main contributors to foot complications.

Problems & Complications

Extra Weight – Even putting on just a few extra pounds could create serious complications for your feet. As your weight increases, your balance and body will shift, creating new stresses on your feet. This uneven weight distribution can cause pain, even while doing the simplest tasks, such as walking.

Diabetes – People who are overweight are at serious risk of developing type-2 diabetes, which has a drastic impact on the health of your feet. As you get older, your diabetes might worsen, which could lead to loss of feeling in your feet, sores, and bruises. You could also become more prone to various infections.

Plantar fasciitis – Pressure and stress that is placed on muscles, joints, and tendons can trigger plantar fasciitis, which is an inflammation of tissue that forms along the bottom of the foot. 

If you have any questions please feel free to contact our office located in Marrero, PA. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

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How Obesity Affects Your Feet

Gaining weight can happen suddenly and at any time. Usually you won’t notice the extra weight until your feet start hurting at the end of the day. This happens as your feet begin adjusting to carrying more weight. Foot swelling and pain are two of the biggest side effects of having gained weight.

Many foot-related problems can occur even after just putting on a few pounds. This includes the body ‘compensating’ by changing the way it moves. You may find yourself putting extra weight on the wrong parts of your feet and even leaning forward a bit. Your feet were designed to carry a healthy, normal body weight. Extra weight places undue stress on them.

Being overweight often causes the development of Type-2 diabetes, causing leg and foot pain. Older people who do not attempt to control their condition can even lose sensation and feeling in their legs and feet. This can lead to the development of small sores that can lead to serious infection.

Extra stress placed on the joints, tendons and muscles in the feet as a result of extra body weight may also cause heel spurs, or plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the foot tissue, causing stiffness and pain when walking and climbing stairs. This can usually be relieved by foot stretches and custom made orthotic shoe-inserts.

Problems in the feet triggered by obesity can be treated by paying special attention to footwear. Proper support shoes that allow for good circulation, especially in the arch and ankle, are vital. A podiatrist can help you find what sort of shoe is most suitable for your feet. They can also measure you for special orthotics if necessary.

It could also be high time to start losing weight in order to treat and prevent diabetes as well as other life threatening diseases. Some methods include yoga and water aerobics, which benefit your entire body without placing stress on your feet. Don’t risk losing your feet by losing interest in them. Take care of your feet and your body, as they deserve the very best.

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What is Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome?

The tarsal tunnel is a canal that exists between the ligaments that spans across the foot and a portion of the ankle bone. The nerves and tendons that are inside this tunnel allow mobility and enable the foot to easily point and flex. If a specific nerve called the tibial nerve inside this canal should become compressed, typically resulting from an injury, this condition is referred to as tarsal tunnel syndrome. Having flat feet is a possible reason for this condition, causing the tibial nerve to become strained. Certain health issues, such as arthritis and diabetes, may also cause the nerve to endure swelling and increased pressure. The nerve must be allowed to heal properly, and this may be accomplished by wearing a brace or supportive shoes. The discomfort that is experienced may be indicative of other foot-related conditions, so it’s advised to consult a podiatrist for a proper diagnosis

Tarsal tunnel syndrome can be very uncomfortable to live with. If you are experiencing tarsal tunnel syndrome, contact one of our podiatrists of the Foot & Ankle Center. Our doctors can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome

Tarsal tunnel syndrome, which can also be called tibial nerve dysfunction, is an uncommon condition of misfiring peripheral nerves in the foot. The tibial nerve is the peripheral nerve in the leg responsible for sensation and movement of the foot and calf muscles. In tarsal tunnel syndrome, the tibial nerve is damaged, causing problems with movement and feeling in the foot of the affected leg.

Common Cause of Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome
– Involves pressure or an injury, direct pressure on the tibial nerve for an extended period of time, sometimes caused by other body structures close by or near the knee.
– Diseases that damage nerves, including diabetes, may cause tarsal tunnel syndrome.
– At times, tarsal tunnel syndrome can appear without an obvious cause in some cases.

The Effects of Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome
– Different sensations, an afflicted person may experience pain, tingling, burning or other unusual sensations in the foot of the affected leg.
– The foot muscles, toes and ankle become weaker, and curling your toes or flexing your foot can become difficult.
– If condition worsens, infections and ulcers may develop on the foot that is experiencing the syndrome.

A physical exam of the leg can help identify the presence of tarsal tunnel syndrome. Medical tests, such as a nerve biopsy, are also used to diagnose the condition. Patients may receive physical therapy and prescriptive medication. In extreme cases, some may require surgery.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact our office located in Marrero, PA. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

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Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome

Tarsal tunnel syndrome is a condition in which there is a compression of the posterior tibial nerve. The posterior tibial nerve runs along the inside of the ankle into the foot. Tarsal tunnel syndrome is named for the tarsal tunnel, which is a thin space along the inside of the ankle beside the ankle bones. This space contains various nerves, arteries, and tendons, and includes the posterior tibial nerve. The tibial nerve is the peripheral nerve in the leg responsible for sensation and movement of the foot and calf muscles. In tarsal tunnel syndrome the tibial nerve is compressed, causing tingling or burning, numbness, and pain.

Common causes of tarsal tunnel syndrome involve pressure or an injury. Injuries that produce inflammation and swelling in or around the tunnel may place pressure on the posterior tibial nerve. Direct pressure on the tibial nerve for an extended period of time, sometimes caused by other body structures close by or trauma to the tibial nerve, can result in tarsal tunnel syndrome. Diseases that damage nerves, such as diabetes or arthritis, may cause tarsal tunnel syndrome. Those with flat feet are at risk for developing the condition, as the extra pressure and strain placed on the foot may compress the posterior tibial nerve.

Feeling different sensations in the foot at different times is a common symptom of tarsal tunnel syndrome. An afflicted person may experience pain, tingling, burning or other unusual sensations in the foot of the affected leg. Symptoms are primarily felt on bottom of the foot and/or the inside of the ankle. Symptoms can appear suddenly and may occur due to overuse of the foot.

To diagnose tarsal tunnel syndrome, your podiatrist may examine the foot and tap the posterior tibial nerve to see if symptoms surface. He or she may also order an MRI to determine if a mass is present.

Treating tarsal tunnel syndrome will depend on the decision of your podiatrist. Multiple options are available, however, and can include rest, ice, immobilization, oral medications such as anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), physical therapy, injection therapy, orthotics, supportive shoes, braces, and surgery.

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Ankle Sprains

Although ankle sprains may not be as serious as a broken ankle, they should be given immediate attention and care. An ankle sprain can lead to a significant amount of pain, as well as limited mobility. They are often characterized by the swelling and discoloration of the skin. This occurs when the ligaments are stretched beyond their limits.

The simple act of walking can sometimes cause a sprain, which makes ankle sprains a very common injury that can happen to anyone. They occur when the ankle twists in an awkward way or rolls over itself, causing a pop or snap in the tendons around the ankle. Some people are more at risk than others. These include athletes who continually push their bodies to the limits and also people who have previously suffered accidents to the feet, ankles, or lower legs.

Most of the time, an ankle sprain is not severe enough for hospital attention. There are many at-home treatment options available, including propping the leg up above your head to reduce blood flow and inflammation, applying ice packs to the affected area as needed, taking over the counter pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medication, using an ACE bandage to wrap and support the injured ankle, and most importantly, remaining off your feet until the ankle has fully healed.

Despite this, an ankle sprain can turn into a severe injury that might require hospitalization. If the ankle ligaments or muscles are damaged from a tear or rip, that is one sign that the sprain is severe enough for hospital attention and possibly for surgery. Even after the surgery, the recovery process can be long. You may need to have rehabilitation sessions administered by your podiatrist to get your ankle back to full health.

The severity of your sprain might become apparent if you are unable to stand or walk, consistent pain is occurring over a prolonged period of time, swelling is much more severe than initially present, or if you start to experience tingling or numbness. These signs may indicate that your ankle sprain might actually be a broken ankle, an injury that requires immediate medical attention.

Although they are not completely avoidable, ankle sprains can be curbed with some preventative treatment measures. These include wearing appropriate fitting shoes that not only provide a comfortable fit, but also ankle support. It is also recommended to stretch before doing any kind of physical activity, as this will help lower your body’s chance for an injury.

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A Common Injury Among Tennis Players

A common ailment that many tennis players are affected by are ankle sprains. The ligaments on the outside of the foot are weaker than those on the inside and may have difficulty in protecting the ankle if it should turn inward. You may have trouble differentiating between a sprain and a break, and it often becomes necessary to have an X-ray performed. Common symptoms may include severe pain and swelling, in addition to discoloration of the skin. Resting the foot is an important first step in healing from this injury, in addition to ceasing all activities including walking. The swelling will subside when the the foot is elevated and will generally feel better. After the recovery period begins, performing certain exercises will help the ankle to become stronger, and the tennis games can resume.  One way to possibly prevent this injury is to wear proper footwear while playing tennis.  Specifically, tennis shoes are designed in a way to prevent injuries.  It would be advised to purchase a pair before partaking in the sport.  If you think you may have sprained your ankle during a game of tennis or have any questions or concerns, scheduling an appointment with a podiatrist is advised.

Ankle sprains are common, but need immediate attention. If you need your feet checked, contact one of our podiatrists from the Foot & Ankle Center. Our doctors can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.

How Does an Ankle Sprain Occur?

Ankle sprains take place when the ligaments in your ankle are torn or stretched beyond their limits. There are multiple ways that the ankle can become injured, including twisting or rolling over onto your ankle, putting undue stress on it, or causing trauma to the ankle itself.

What are the Symptoms?

  • Mild to moderate bruising
  • Limited mobility
  • Swelling
  • Discoloration of the skin (depending on severity)

Preventing a Sprain

  • Wearing appropriate shoes for the occasion
  • Stretching before exercises and sports
  • Knowing your limits

Treatment of a Sprain

Treatment of a sprain depends on the severity.  Many times, people are told to rest and remain off their feet completely, while others are given an air cast. If the sprain is very severe, surgery may be required.

If you have suffered an ankle sprain previously, you may want to consider additional support such as a brace and regular exercises to strengthen the ankle.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact our office located in Marrero, PA. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

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